Monthly Archives: September 2013

September 30, 2013

DIY: Panda Costume

Panda Costume

Supplies for Tea's Panda CostumeStep 1: MEASURE YOUR CHILD

  • Circumference of head
  • From between the eyebrows to back and bottom of neck
  • Shoulder to shoulder
  • Shoulder to wrist (both arms)
  • Around the largest part of the arm (both arms)
  • Base of neck to the crotch
  • Around the chest (at the nipples)
  • Around the belly (at the belly button)
  • Around the hips (at the center of the bottom)
  • Inseam (from the crotch to the ground)
  • Around the thigh at the widest part (both legs)

With each measurement, add approximately 10″ (for the seams, the thickness of the fabric you will use, and extra breathing room). When in doubt, give yourself extra fabric for the suit—you can always take it in and make it smaller.

Make Your Own Panda Suit from Tea Collection

Step 2: BUY YOUR FABRIC

Estimate the amount of fabric you’ll need based the total of your final measurements. You will need the same amount of black and white fabric. Tell the staff at your local fabric store that you are looking “sherpa craft fur” or something similar to it. You can choose a black or white invisible zipper, just make sure it is a length that fits the torso of your child, from the crotch to the base of the neck. Don’t forget to buy any of the other supplies you will need when getting your fabric.

Make Your Own Panda Suit from Tea Collection

Step 3: START WITH THE HEAD

This is where you get a little creative! In order to make the panda head round and like a hood, use a ball that is close to the size of your child’s head (volleyball, soccer ball). From the white fabric, cut a square piece that fits all the way around the ball, with a bit extra. Wrap the fabric around the ball loosely with the fuzzy side facing the ball. Next, use safety pins to pin back the four corners of the fabric square in a circular way. This will be the opening for the face of the costume. Work slowly around the whole ball, loosely pinching the fabric and pinning it so that after you sew all the pinched spots, you will turn the hood right side in and the fuzzy side will be a flush circular shape. After sewing all the seams and pinches, choose the spot that will connect to the rest of the costume at the bottom of the face opening and cut a slit from there that is half the measurement of the circumference of your child’s head.

Step 4: THE EARS

To make the ears, just eyeball the size you would like them to be and cut two squares from the black fabric. (Always over-estimate when cutting into the fabric.) Here again you can just sort of ball them up until they appear to look like an appropriate panda ear and freestyle sew it together. Next, join the ears up with the white hooded head you made. Safety pin the ears on before sewing so you can really see where they are going to sit on the hood.

Make Your Own Panda Suit from Tea Collection

Step 5: THE BODY

Take a big cut out of the black fabric that is at least longer than the largest measurement you took from your child’s torso. Keeping the furry side facing inward, form it into a tube, then sew the seam where the two edges meet to form the tube. Do the same for the two arms. Remember, you want your panda to be able to move, so do everything with a little extra room. Next, take the two arms and place them on either sides of the upper torso area of the large tube. Pin them in place while you trace around the arms with your chalk to make the arm holes. Cut the holes out. Sew the arms on using your black thread. To finish the arms, you can fold the wrist seam in and sew it if you want a cleaner look.

Between the fur of the fabric and the fact that your child may only wear or fit into this costume for one season, nothing needs to be perfect! So don’t stress about mistakes and imperfections on your side.

Next, cut an oval shape from your white fabric, place it onto the front of the black torso you just made, and sew it on. Then find the center of the top of the chest opening, take your zipper, and cut straight down the center of the torso the same length as your zipper. Sew it in!

Step 6: THE PANDA BOOTY

Follow the same process for the legs as you did for the arms, but leave even more room in the legs than you think you need to (wider at the thighs and tapered at the ankles), and make them longer, too. Once you have your two legs, place them side-by-side. Now is when you kind of need to make it up—you are essentially making pants. After you figure that one out, sew the bottom onto to the upper torso.

Step 7: PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

Last but not least, don’t forget to sew the HEAD on! Then unzip the suit and let your child try it on. Presto! Panda time!

Make Your Own Panda Suit from Tea Collection

And do a little dance!

Jackie Jones is a graphic designer and illustrator who has had the pleasure to create projects with clients all over the world. She currently lives in the fruit valley of Washington with her husband Andy, and is painting up a storm for her first children’s book.

September 27, 2013

A New Bedtime Story

i am mixed by Garcelle Beauvais

We think ‘I Am Mixed” is a beautifully illustrated children’s book with a beautiful message!

Things we found and want to share from this past week:

Get $25 dollars off + Free Shipping when you spend $150+ on teacollection.com until 9/29

Wayfare Magazine featured Emily’s trip to West Africa in their ‘Places We Heart’ series – Don’t miss the beautiful photos!

See what children in France are being served for lunch.

We are thrilled to see Leigh & Emily in the San Francisco Business Times on ‘How Top Women in Business Owners Lead Their Companies’.

These handmade shadow boxes are so charming!

September 25, 2013

Riding Trains in Germany

To help everyone at Tea “go there,” we make a yearly contribution to each employee for international travel and exploration. Upon their return, our Tea travelers write blog posts to share their adventures with all of us (and the world).

Esther, who handles catalogs and emails here at Tea, traveled with her family to Germany to catch up with relatives.

Every summer, my husband and I take our kids (now 8 and 7) to Germany to visit our families. The kids always look forward to seeing their Omas and Opas, aunts, uncles and cousins in Bonn and Cologne. It is important to us that our children are immersed in the culture of their parents’ native country, that they get to experience German traditions and learn to appreciate the similarities and differences between countries and cultures.

Germany

Every year while in Europe, we go on little adventures. We have taken the children on quick trips to Paris, Brussels and Berlin. Always by train – their favorite means of transportation. The ICE train travels at up to 300 km/h (186 mph). It often runs parallel to the freeway and the children love being faster than the cars – especially when there is no speed limit on a particular stretch of Autobahn!

On German trains, children under 15 ride free when traveling with an adult. During the summer months, there are special kids’ tickets, which can be exchanged for goodies on the train. In the past two years, children received a free Popsicle. This year, the goodies were a coloring book, colored pencils and a toy ICE train.

Riding Trains In Germany

Our 2013 adventure took us to Nuremberg, where we strolled through the old streets, marveled at the medieval castle and its almost fully intact wall (with moat!), and enjoyed the local specialty of Nürnberger Rostbratwurst. To satisfy the children’s need for playtime, we went to the Playmobil FunPark, adjacent to the original Playmobil factory.

On the way back to Cologne, we opted against the high-speed ICE trains and chose to take the scenic route through the picturesque Rhine Gorge instead. If you asked my kids, they would say it’s “the river with all the castles”. They don’t understand the meaning of UNESCO World Heritage Site yet.

Loreli -  Rhine near St. Goarshausen, Germany

The train ride along the Rhine Gorge also took us past the Lorelei. This rock soars high above the water where the Rhine is at its narrowest. A strong current and rocks just below the waterline have caused many boats to sink here. Our children of course wondered why I was taking a picture of a rock. I told them the legend of the Lorelei, who sits on the cliff, brushing her golden hair, singing an enchanting melody, distracting shipmen and causing them to crash on the rocks. I’m sure someday they will understand the beauty of the poem.

As we were getting off the train in Cologne, the kids asked what our adventure is going to be next year. That’s when we knew we had done something right.

September 24, 2013

Passport to Baby Bliss

Next time you’re in the Lone Star State, be sure to swing by Dallas’ one-stop-shop for baby; Baby Bliss.  Carrie and her expert staff will make you feel right at home!

Baby Bliss, Dallas Texas

Tea: How did you decide to take the leap and open your own store? How long has your store been in business?  
Baby Bliss: My career started in retail as a buyer and later in wholesale.  I just had the itch to do it myself!  When my 30th came rolling around, I decided to make a change and boy am I glad that I did.

Tea: What is your favorite part of your day at the store?  
BB: Well, I don’t spend a lot of time at the store these days because I have an amazing staff that allows me to do all the office work from home and spend more time with my kiddos after school.

Tea: We know how special and unique all of our stores are, what makes your store unique? 
BB: My amazing staff!  I swear people come in just to see them.  They are fun, friendly, outgoing and that’s the vibe of the store. Everyone is welcome to come in, hang out, shop, and chat.

Baby Bliss, Dallas Texas

Tea: At Tea, we “Go There”, how do you share in that mission at your store and/or in your life?  
BB: I love to go there!  I love to travel.  Before having kids, I was a worldly traveler. I was adventurous.  Now that we have kids, we prefer to travel to beaches (I love the beach) where we can get lots of R&R.

Tea: What is the biggest trend you see right now in either shopping or kid’s fashion? What are people coming in for?  
BB: My clients crave fashion for their kids that imitates theirs!  I swear we hear all the time, “I wish that came in adult sizes!”

Baby Bliss, Dallas Texas

Tea: What do you do in your “spare” time?  
BB: Family time is so important to us.  I read something this summer and they titled it “the sweet spot”, post diapers and pre-teen, when your kids actually want to be with you, so we try to take full advantage of that, in between everything else! We are foodies, movie goers, art and festival lovers so we try to take advantage of all Dallas has to offer.

Tea: How do you balance it all? What tricks can you offer us?  
BB: One day at a time! Then if my plate is just too full, I’ll ignore or delete things, like ‘OOPS’, I must have missed that.

 

September 18, 2013

And the Emmy goes to…

“For this year’s Emmys, my inspiration started with the elegant oversized sash worn with traditional Japanese robes. The dress has a delicate bateau neckline with a graduated hem skirt, and we added a dramatic knotted tie to captivate on the red carpet. 

We were delighted to have found this beautiful floral silk ikat, as Aubrey’s favorite colors are pink and purple – I just knew it would make the perfect accent to the lavender silk satin dress. It is sophisticated yet sweet, the perfect complement to Aubrey’s spirited charm.”  Emily Meyer, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of Tea Collection

Tea Collection Sketches for Aubrey Anderson-Emmons_2013 Emmys 1_no color

Several different styles were sketched for Aubrey’s 2013 Emmy dress.

Tea Collection Sketches for Aubrey Anderson-Emmons_2013 Emmys 2_no color

We focused on fabrics that would work best with the fit and style of the dresses you see above.

Emily Meyer, co-Founder of Tea Collection Fabric Shopping for Aubrey's Emmy Dress

We added color to our sketches after the fabric was pulled and sent images to Aubrey so she could choose her favorite. The dress was then transformed from this…

Final Sketch of Tea Collection Dress for Aubrey Anderson-Emmons 2013 Emmys

To this!

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons 2013 Emmy Awards

Her favorite part of this dress?

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons 2013 Emmy Awards

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons 2013 Emmy Awards

“The bow!”

Emily was on hand for final touches…

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons 2013 Emmy Awards

And then Aubrey was off!

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons 2013 Emmy Awards

We’ll be watching live to see if she takes the Emmy stage for another ‘Modern Family’ win for Best Comedy.

Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage

Good luck tonight Aubrey and to the entire cast of Modern Family!

See Aubrey Anderson-Emmons in a few of her favorite Tea dresses

Aubrey Anderson-Emmons in Tea Collection

What She Wore

(And, shop the look!)

from left to right

Row 1: Blooming Lily Shift Dress, Los Angeles Film Festival, Summer 2013 :: Custom Tea Collection Dress for 2012 Emmy’s :: Sethunya Floral Dress, USA Upfronts, Summer 2013

Row 2: Branch Blossom Layer Dress and Pop Art Stretch Legging, The Wizard of Oz Musical Premiere, Fall 2013 :: Branch Blossom Bubble Dress, Filming Season 5 of Modern Family, Fall 2013 :: Painted Pottery Graphic Dress, The Smurfs Preview, Fall 2013

Row 3: Tai Kang Floral Twill Dress, The Wizard of Oz’s 75th Anniversary Screening, Fall 2013 :: Strandveld Wrap-Neck Dress, Funny or Die “Child Star Psychologist”, Fall 2013

Welcome, Baby! Sweepstakes

Welcome, Baby!

This is one giveaway new momma’s won’t want to miss! We’ve teamed up with Giggle, Ergobaby, Orbit Baby and Skip Hop to bring you a prize package valued at over $3000! One lucky winner will soon own a $500 Tea gift certificate, Harper crib & changer from Giggle, Stroller travel system from Orbit Baby, an organic bundle of joy and two swaddles from Ergobaby and a $500 Skip Hop gift certificate.

Enter to win!

September 13, 2013

Building a Business

Emily Meyer

Don’t miss Emily’s feature on No Ordinary Homestead. Hear her advice to those of you who are just starting out in the business world, she has three tips you won’t want to miss!

Things we found and want to share from this past week:

How to create creative kids – A great article from this month’s FamilyFun

Don’t miss your chance to enter our Smartwool Sweeps! We’ve got you covered on your everyday essentials.

Handmade Charlotte is hosting a family craft challenge, be sure to check it out!

Sweet Paul’s new kids issue is out and it’s packed with great activities and delicious recipes.

We can dream, right?

September 12, 2013

August Instagram Roundup

We asked you to use #teacollection in your Instagram photos and we were so excited to find that you did! Each month we’ll round up 12 of our favorites and share them with you here on Studio T.

Instagram Favorites #teacollectionrow 1 (left to right): @63vette, @araer81, @melferachi

row 2: @britneypg, @douttasite, @heybrie

row 3: @ambernge, @graygirlphoto, @eastblvd

row 4: @abitofsas, @jennipah, @daniaeldam

September 10, 2013

Make Traveling With Children A Little Easier

Friendly Sky Kit

We’ve all been there. We know that a screaming child on a quiet plane is never fun for anyone involved. But, what if the parent of the six-month old you’ve been sat next to starts off the flight with a bag of candy and a note like this…

friendly sky kit2

We bet you’d laugh a little, take immediate pity on the parent traveling solo with little ones and sincerely thank them for the earplugs!

Friendly Sky Kit makes traveling with children a little easier on everyone – we’re such fans! This could also be a great DIY project with the family before your trip. Throw your child’s favorite candy into a bag with a pair of earplugs (the most important item), tie the baggies up and pack them for the flight. Make it more personal with a note explaining that this is baby’s first trip – Your neighbors will thank you and your trip may be a little easier. Offer a bag or two to your flight attendants  – you never know when that speedy second snack may come in handy for a necessary distraction!

*Friendly Sky Kit is offering Tea customers 10% off their order with code FRIENDLY10 at checkout*

September 9, 2013

Destination: Beijing

Destination: Beijing

As a 7-year Beijing resident, I’m so excited to share more about discovering the best of the city that was the inspiration for Tea’s Fall/Winter 2013 Collection.

As Emily mentions in her introduction to the Fall/Winter Collection destination inspiration, “China is so big it’s hard to take it all in. The cities are huge, the palaces are massive…” which both the Busy Beijing Tee and the Traffic Jam Pajamas illustrate pretty well.

To take away any intimidation of visiting this great city, I’m thrilled to point you to the best kept secrets and hidden gems of what makes Beijing such an exciting and special place to visit.

Obviously, you want to make sure you visit Beijing’s greatest hits: the Great Wall, the Forbidden City Palace Museum, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and the Summer Palace.  If you have private transportation sorted out and a great guide to help you make the most of your time in each place, you could easily discover all of those sites in two days.*

For culturally curious families who want to experience the best that Beijing has to offer, however, you’ll want to leave enough time to explore the off-the-beaten path sites and experience the city like a local.

 

Exploring Beijing’s Ancient Hutong Neighborhoods

The most important and locally unique activity you must save time to do is wandering through Beijing’s ancient hutong neighborhoods. Many of these historical neighborhoods have been torn down to make way for new modern developments, but a good number still remain in the city center.

A hutong literally meansalley,” and the hutong neighborhoods are labyrinths of alleys connecting Beijing’s traditional courtyard homes. In addition to homes, the hutongs house many different local businesses. Recently there has even been an upsurge in hip cafes, restaurants, and boutiques located in hutongs.

Wandering hutong neighborhoods, you can see residents living an integrated community street lifestyle that has been part of Beijing’s unique rhythm and spirit for centuries. You will see elderly residents playing mah jong, chatting outside while neighborhood kids play in the alleys, and various local vendors biking by, shouting the wares they sell.

Some of the most fun hutong neighborhoods to wander through are the ones surrounding the Drum and Bell Tower or the Lama Temple.

 

Vibrant Early Morning Park Culture

Early Beijing park culture is one of the most fun and unique experiences for visitors. Each morning, Beijing’s parks are vibrantly buzzing with activity like group tai qi, elderly men congregating with their caged bird pets, water calligraphy on the pavement, and women’s exercise groups.

One of the best parks to visit is Ritan Park in the Embassy District. Ritan Park is one of Beijing’s four ancient altar parks where the Emperor would go annually to make the appropriate sacrifices and rituals that would ensure peace and prosperity. Positioned symmetrically throughout Beijing–north, south, east, and west of the Forbidden City–Ritan Park is the sun altar park on the east.

The sun altar is still there, but nowadays you are more likely to find locals flying kites in the altar than stumble upon an imperial ceremony. Handpainted kite-making is a local craft, and taking the family to fly kites with locals in the ancient sun altar would be a great family memory and iconic Beijing experience.

Chinese kite traditions inspired both the China Post Graphic Tee and the Butterfly Kite Twirl Top in Tea’s Fall/Winter 2013 collection.

 

China’s Hot Contemporary Art Scene

China is not only a wonderful place to discover ancient history and culture but also a place alive with modern energy, creativity, and exuberance.

In the last few decades, China’s contemporary art scene has exploded on the international art stage. A great place to take the family to explore Chinese contemporary art is the 798 Art District, the inspiration for Tea’s Modern Dot Bubble Dress.

798 Art District used to be an old industrial factory complex located between the city center and the airport. Local Chinese artists started moving into the abandoned factories to create studios and galleries slowly followed. Now what you have is a full blown art district with many of the world’s top art galleries present.

798 is huge, with lots of open spaces to run through and outdoor art and sculptures for kids to play on. Among all the galleries, cafes, and shops in 798, you don’t want to miss Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA). UCCA is a great museum built by dedicated contemporary Chinese art collectors that also has many kid-friendly and kid centered activities.

Nearby, Caochangdi (not walkable, you need a car or taxi) has more galleries and studios with a lot less visitors than 798. If you go to Caochangdi, don’t miss the beautiful Three Shadows Photography Center, which is the premier spot to discover contemporary Chinese photography exhibitions.

As Tea notes in their Destination Inspiration introduction, China is an enchanting land of contrasts and we are sure you will have a memorable time discovering the fascinating city of Beijing where the energetic optimism Tea noted is palpable and a fascinating combination of ancient and modern awaits your adventures.

*For help designing customized private itineraries with local experts who have experience guiding young families visiting Beijing for the first time, I recommend contacting Stretch-a-leg Travel.

Another great resource for visiting families is http://www.beijing-kids.com/ and the related free publication, Beijing Kids, you can find in restaurants and cafes around town.

———-

Charlene Wang is a 7-year Beijing resident who runs Tranquil Tuesdays, a Beijing-based Chinese social enterprise dedicated to showcasing China’s finest teas and rich tea culture. To learn more about discovering Chinese tea, teaware, and design please visit www.tranquiltuesdays.com